WORKERS CARRY boxes containing food supplies for Palestinian refugees at a United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA)-run food distribution center in Gaza in 2015..
(photo credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/ REUTERS)
As long as the “UNRWA state” exists, the Palestinian issue will never be resolved.
In the 1948 war the Arab Liberation Army suffered a crippling defeat. The Arab League refused to accept defeat and, to save its reputation, decided to demand the implementation of the principle “status quo ante bellum.” Meaning to restore the Palestinian refugees to their homes.
The United Nations embraced the League’s demand and created a special UN agency – the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The goal was not to rehabilitate the refugees, but rather to render the League refugees state services, like health, welfare and education.
Had the question of rehabilitation been on the agenda, the UN would have decided to let the International Refugee Organization (IRO – established in 1944) to take care of the Palestinian refugees.
Thus, the UN created a political unit/ entity of its own – UNRWA. A political Palestinian semi-entity, ruled by Arab states and/or organizations, depending on the location. Despite the fact that this political entity enjoys UN immunity, it is controlled by the PLO.
Every new physician, on the day of his graduation, knows that you can’t heal a wound unless you had drained the purulence first. As long as UNRWA exists, the Palestinians will never agree to reach an agreement with Israel. They believe that, through the “assistance” of the refugee-hosting Arab countries, UNRWA eventually will serve them the annihilation of Israel on a silver plate, by bring them back to Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheba and Jerusalem. They consider the refugee ID card UNRWA provides them the passport to the promised land.
Meanwhile, the small organization that started as UN agency became a UN state. The original refugees are long gone. The original 320,000 refugees became 5,500,000 refugees. The appalling reality is that this UN organization keeps over five million people idle, sitting doing nothing – just waiting for the distribution of the food rations. Exactly like an open human zoo.
UNRWA’s first-year budget was $54.9 million, and the 2016 budget was $2.5 billion; the US financial contribution was $380m. Furthermore, politically speaking UNRWA is practically ruled by the PLO and Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza, and by the Arab governments elsewhere. The Palestinian refugees are scattered mainly in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The international staff gave up out of fear. Two-and-a-half billion dollars annually, in order to perpetuate the misery of millions of people forever.
It’s about time that UNRWA be shut down. The huge budget should be spent on rehabilitation of these poor people where they currently reside. The “hosting” Arab governments do not trust the Palestinians, because they are ungrateful, problematic element. To assemble them back in the Palestinian Authority will destroy the Palestinian entity. That is why no Palestinian leader is able to reach any agreement with Israel – unless the troublemakers’ (“refugees”) problem is settled.
Therefore, it is high time that the UN state be dismantled, and its population delivered from their misery. The US administration should stop financing this humiliating facade.
There is nothing human in the operation of UNRWA. Its operation and very existence are purely political: to destroy Israel and/or the Palestinian Authority. If the Palestinian Christian leadership in the West Bank could rehabilitate their brothers that were found in the refugee camps, the Arab hosting governments can do it too – with the help of the international donors to UNRWA.
Nearly four decades ago, the American novelist Leon Uris, who wrote Exodus, wanted to write another novel, about how Jews and Arabs related to each other. He asked then chief of intelligence Gen. Aharon Yariv to provide him with an escort in the West Bank. And I had the privilege of escorting Uris during his travels and meetings with the Arab ruling echelon.
Uris was stunned when Elias Freij, the mayor of Bethlehem, told him that in all the West Bank refugee camps there was not a single Christian. Immediately after the 1948 war, the Christian leadership in the West Bank decided to remove all the Christians from the camps and rehabilitate them.
Later that day, Uris met Abd el-Rauf Fares at Fara’ah village near Nablus, a Muslim member of the Jordanian Parliament. Uris asked the MP why the Muslim leadership in the West Bank had not followed the Christian example? And the MP answered: as a Muslim my duty is to certify that every poor Muslim has a piece of bread to eat and a glass of water to drink. It seems then to Uris that the Arab Christians had dignity, while the Muslims had no mercy for their brothers.